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What's important in life

Teresa talks about finding happiness now and for the future

Written by Teresa Clifford and posted in opinion

This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for please contact

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For the fun of it...

I’m constantly being reminded that I’m nearly an adult and that I’m working towards the Leaving Cert and that my Leaving Cert is really just working towards my future. Teachers remind me that there is always more that can be done when it comes to studying. Adults are quick to ask me if I have a job and when I say no they ask when I’ll get one. If they’re not asking about my current job they’re telling me that I should be researching colleges and courses so I can get a good job later. With all these things I seemingly should be doing for my future, I often feel that when I’m doing anything that’s not working towards a goal that will improve my future or my CV, that I should feel guilty and that what I’m doing is a waste of time in the long run.

Sure those same teachers and adults will tell me that I should spend my free time relaxing and doing what I like, but with all the things needed to sort out my future, what I like to do doesn’t seem like the best use of my time. Except those teachers and adults are right; there are many things I can do to help my future but the most important thing I can do is be happy in the present. All the things on my CV and all the flashcards I make mean nothing if at the end of the day I’m not happy. Some things have to be done not for the help they’ll give you in your adult life but purely for the fun of it. So what if painting a pretty flower won’t look good on a CV? I’ll have a pretty painting and a sense of pride every time I see it because I made it and it made me happy. Drama classes probably won’t sky rocket me into fame and fortune and I could spend that time working long hours for a bit more money, but drama classes make me feel happier than anything else. I could spend my weekend going over Macbeth quotes again because you can never be too prepared, or I could go visit my friends and make memories that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

School and young adult life can make you feel like there is always something that you’re not doing, but you should be doing, like life is all about working and preparing yourself for the next step. But if you live your life preparing for the future, you’ll find yourself in the future without having really lived at all. When I have grandchildren I don’t want to tell them about how when I was 17 I once went through a whole pack of flashcards in one day; I want to tell them about the time I was on stage and nearly kicked my shoe into the audience while dancing, or how my friends and I nearly woke up the entire house at 1 AM laughing too loud about an inside joke at a sleepover. I want to be able to tell them that I got my studies done and made a good life for myself while also living a good life; that I did what I needed too but I also did things purely for the fun of it and that those became the things I cherish most.

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Published Jan­u­ary 8th2018
Last updated July 30th2018
Tags mental health wellbeing happiness careers
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